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Underdanig opposisjon: Offentleg skriftleg motstand i Noreg 1807––1814

f. 1985, master i historie 2010, doktorgradsstipendiat ved Institutt for arkeologi, konservering og historie, Universitetet i Oslo.

o.i.viken@iakh.uio.no

  • Side: 337-364
  • Publisert på Idunn: 2011-09-23
  • Publisert: 2011-09-23

Det siste tiåret av syttenhundretalet var det offentlege dansk-norske ordskiftet prega av tiltakande skriveri, og etter kvart kritiske ytringar, om statsmakta. Styringsmakta freista i 1799 å få ein slutt på agelause ytringar, ved å innføra strenge prentelovar. Denne artikkelen vil sjå på den norske allmenta i perioden mellom 1807 og 1814 og vurdera om kongemakta si disiplinering av skribentane fungerte. Det vil bli hevda at opposisjonelle meiningar framleis vart framsett då, men på eit anna sett enn før: via ein prosess kalla «underdanig opposisjon», der skribentane makta å nytta ein pålagt lojalitetsdiskurs til sin eigen føremon.

Subservient resistance: Written public resistance in Norway 1807–1814

In 1799 the Dano-Norwegian regime attempted to counter increasing public criticism by introducing new press laws which would severely reduce freedom of expression. The article seeks to examine the extent to which the authorities managed to discipline public writers in Norway by investigating the Norwegian press during the Napoleonic Wars. Several Norwegian newspapers and journals began publication during this period, which in the Denmark–Norway case lasted from 1807 to 1814. Newly established newspapers, such as Tiden and the government-issued Budstikken, printed news to a much greater extent than their predecessors, thus changing the character and role of the press in publishing a number of defiant statements. In particular, the possible establishment of a Norwegian university was an important topic of discussion generating newspaper contributions as well as a series of separate publications. Nevertheless, the public discourse of the period was characterized by servile writings. Harsh press laws and intense pressure exercised by members of the authorities left little room for frank political criticism. In this publishing climate it is my assertion that Norwegian writers adapted and managed to exploit the loopholes that existed within the system to utter divergent opinions. Through irony, symbolism and allegory, Norwegians expressed opinions readily understood by the reader but difficult to punish for a regime unwilling to exert a large degree of arbitrary power. Furthermore, partially based on James C. Scott’s theory on the communicative strategies of suppressed groups in autocratic societies, the article points to an approach used by the writers, named «subservient resistance», where loyal discourse is used to justify one’s writings and render it possible to publish dissident political statements.

Keywords: autocracy, discourse, public opinion, resistance
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